States join spyware battle

Monday, 8 March 2004, 2:44 PM EST

Late on Wednesday, Utah apparently became the first state to pass a law regulating spyware and other advertising software, although the bill has yet to be signed by the governor. Lawmakers in Iowa and California also have introduced their own spyware control proposals in the past several weeks.

But while potentially welcome news for consumers, the legislative trend is raising worried eyebrows among some Internet businesses, which are concerned that state laws may unintentionally hamper some means of doing legitimate business on the Net.

"Our concerns are (about) regulating a technology rather than regulating the use of a technology," said Emily Hackett, executive director of the Internet Alliance, a trade organization that includes America Online, eBay and Microsoft and which opposed early drafts of the Utah legislation. "What's called spyware is not innately a bad thing. What's called a pop-up is not innately a bad thing."

By John Borland at CNET.

[ Read more ]

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